Europeans and Californians join forces to denounce proposed wine tariffs

Wine organisations representing both Californian and EU producers are calling on their respective governments to drop any talk of wine tariffs. Jason Sych reports.

Photo by Louis Velazquez on Unsplash
Photo by Louis Velazquez on Unsplash

The Comité Européen des Entreprises Vins and the Wine Institute of California have issued a joint statement calling on the US and EU governments not to impose tariffs on wine products, now or in the future.

“The longstanding EU-US wine trade alliance is important for the health of our sector and should be preserved and supported,” said the statement. “Our wine trade relationship is the largest in the world and a key driver for EU and US wine export growth.”

The statement also asks governments to “open access to each other’s markets by fully, immediately and simultaneously eliminating all tariffs on wine.”

Not only is it asking for government to refrain from a tariff war, but it has asked for a free trade agreement instead. This agreement, the statement says, should prioritize three specific outcomes: the preservation of the EU-US wine partnership, the elimination of all tariffs, and the principle that “wine should not be targeted with tariffs of any kind in trade disputes unrelated to the wine trade”.  

The two organizations represent the interests of tens of thousands of small and medium sized businesses working in both the EU and US economies.  The looming trade war, which has its beginning in a dispute involving Boeing and Airbus, has seen the US government threaten to invoke a 100% tariff on all wines imported from any member states of the EU. “Tariffs increase costs and act as added taxes that American and EU consumers and businesses, at each level of the production and marketing supply chain, pay," says the statement.

There is fear in the EU-US wine sector that the proposed tariff would create economic uncertainty, layoffs, and price increases due to the increased costs that would have to be paid by American and EU consumers and businesses. 

“We urge our governments to protect the economic vitality and diversity of our producers and farmers,” the statement says, “by avoiding the use of retaliatory tariffs on wine.”

The Comité Européen des Entreprises Vins, founded in 1960, brings together 23 national organisations from 12 EU Member States, plus Switzerland and Ukraine, as well as a consortium of four European wine companies. The companies represented by CEEV account for over 90% of European wine exports.  

The Wine Institute is the premier organization representing California wineries in the US and internationally. 

Jason Sych

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